At last, my own personal linguistic pet peeve - the use of the phrase "I could care less," when what the speaker actually means is exactly the opposite, "I couldn't care less" - is getting some long-overdue attention in the blogosphere. Kevin Drum, whom I ordinarily hold in high esteem, appears to believe that when it is employed, the speaker is doing so sarcastically, as when a teenager says, "Yeah Mom, going antiquing with you sounds like lots of fun." Unless Kevin is himself being sarcastic when he says this, he just couldn't be more wrong. This mistake has spread through the American vernacular like a despicable virus, and it is used unthinkingly millions of times a day. I'd guess I started hearing it about 15 years ago or so, and it just gets worse and worse.
As members of the liberal elite, whom we know controls all the key levers of American society, TAP readers should be able to make significant inroads in stamping out this national shame. So the next time you hear someone say, "I could care less," be polite but firm as you explain why he or she is an idiot.
And I confess I had never heard of David Mitchell - given his production values, I'm guessing he is a person of some renown across the pond. But for creating this video and starting this discussion, he has become my new favorite English person:
-- Paul Waldman
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